Monday, December 31, 2007

Why CDs?

Recently I read a great review of Masaaki Suzuki's recording of the Bach B Minor Mass. So I ordered it from Amazon at a cost of 32 Euros. It's a SACD - never quite sure what that means, but most of the time I listen on my Ipod anyway.

A couple of days later eclassical emailed me, with the very same recording for download for 5.99. Eclassical is a kosher classical music download site, so there is no question about legitimacy. Clearly their version was just normal, as opposed to SACD, but for the Ipod it was perfect (once I had sorted the little problem of the track numbers being the same on both 'CDs' and the movements being intermingled). One order cancelled at amazon.

offer all (?) their vast library of tracks for download, as do others now. I suppose if you were a hi fi freak you would want to buy CDs (or probably preferably LPs), but in any case we also don't know how long CDs live - there have already been reports of early CDs deteriorating.

Of course it's not safe storing all your music on an Ipod only which is why Itunes, for all its faults, is quite good at storing it on your computer hard disk. Which may not be so good for you either, if that crashes, but then you could use jungledisk (at a fee) or MP3tunes locker (for free) to store your music off site in that big storage space in the sky. I suppose you might worry about security and someone nicking your tracks.... then again, that could happen at home, too - no?

Is there a future for CDs? Answers on a postcard....

How is the recording? Great - have not heard all of it, though I heard the huge intake of breath at the beginning before they launched into a very slow Kyrie. He generally does not rush. Suzuki does the Mass with a small choir of 15 or so, and period instruments. You realise this when one movement in particular sounds quite flat, but it's just the different tuning. I like transparent Bach - there's a band in Edinburgh who does Bach like this in the Canongate church twice a year. Overall it's a wonderful recording, every word is pronounced extremely clearly - the Japanese can do an 'r' if it's necessary. It only misses one small thing - when I recorded the mass from the radio at the 1975 Proms, right at the end of the movement just before the 'Et resurrexit' the organist must have leaned on the keyboard and out came a squeak - I wait for it every time I now hear the music...